producer | assistant director | filmmaker


b. 1986, HK.

Makena Headshot.jpg

Hawaiian Dictionary By Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel H. Elbert

Makena. 1. Nvi. Mourning, wailing, lamentation; to wail, lament, weep for joy Nona kēia Makena e uwē ‘ia mai nei (This wailing that is being sobbed forth here is for him) 2. N. Calm, of sea, atmosphere. Cf. make dead.

Mākena. Vs. Many, numerous; often, much. Mākena wale ua moa (lots of chickens). Mākena kā ho’I ko’u hilahila iā’oe (how you humiliated me; you made me ashamed of you)


Dumb Biography, you know I had to do it to 'em

Makena Buchanan is a Texas native and a producer of fiction and non-fiction films. He is a 2018 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow and participated in the inaugural Southern Producers Lab in 2018. Projects that Makena has helmed have received support from the Sundance Institute, Austin Film Society, and the Venice Biennale, works he's produced have played in festivals like SXSW, Rotterdam, Palm Springs, Maryland, Fantastic Fest, Sidewalk, Morelia, among others. Much like his interests, his filmography as a producer predominantly drifts toward two pretty specific pools: diverse genre pieces like Soft Matter and Slow Creep (Fantastic Fest 2017) and formally experimental non-fiction works like Las Nubes (IFFR 2018, Havana 2017) and Caballerango

Ma-kontext Buchanan Or The Short-Long Autobiography of Moviekena BuCanon

I was born in Austin Texas, in October of 1994 during the Cotton Bowl game where the Texas Longhorns beat the Oklahoma Sooners. I grew up in North West Houston where I spent my childhood riding bicycles, playing gamecube, and hot gluing my fingers together. I was fascinated by the handmade quality of claymation films like Wallace and Grommit and Robby the Reindeer. Armed with an Apple Macintosh and a very early digital camera I set out to make my own animations.

Years later I began to collaborate with my close friend Bryce Seifert. In 2008 Obama was elected president and Xyro Productions was founded. We made videos, parodies, reviews, special fx, you name it. With naiveté came blind production speed. This was our strength. We were 14 when we entered the 48-Hour Film Project, we were the youngest team to ever enter. That year we took home an audience award for a mock environmentalist documentary called Saving our Suburbs. We made music videos, corporate videos, screened a short at the NAB show in Las Vegas. These were formative years.

In high-school I made a short film called Don’t Be Afraid Ashley, it played in the High-School shorts category at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival. Later that year I began attending the Radio, Television, and Film Program at the University of Texas at Austin. I began collaborating with other students, the first film I ever produced was a short called Slow Creep, I cherish that project and mark it as the birth of my lovefest with producing. At the expense of my school work and all personal relationships, I went on to produce several more films over the next few years. I had to leave a set (changing into robes as I drove) to graduate a year early in May 2016.

Many of the films I’ve produced deal with new perspectives about the Lone Star State. The state I was born and raised in. One explores a struggling immigrant family dealing with tragedy in south Austin, another looks at the legacy of an aging astronaut in central Texas, and yet another deals with border relations in the West Texas town of Presidio and it’s sister Ojinaga, MX. 

I’m currently split between Austin / Los Angeles / Houston. I’m scraping by. I’m exploring. I’m making movies. Please come talk to me about anything:

CV available upon request.